San Francisco Niners: Team is a Super Bowl Contender with Jimmy Garoppolo Under Center

NFL QB Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
NFL QB Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Jimmy Garoppolo is proving that immense physical talent is not the only ingredient for a starting quarterback in the NFL. After stepping in for the injured Trey Lance, Jimmy G has the San Francisco Niners looking like Super Bowl contenders again.

The veteran signal-caller is once again at the center of the Kyle Shanahan scheme and he’s much better suited to run it than Trey Lance. This is not to kick another man while he is down, I still believe in Lance’s potential. That being said, the Niners are ready to win now and Lance still didn’t look to quite be there.

Jimmy Garoppolo will never be confused as a guy with elite arm talent, but he knows the offensive scheme like the back of his hand. The former New England Patriot knows who he is and does not mind handing the ball off 40 times in a game if that’s what it takes to win.

The QB win statistic is oftentimes misleading and not something to use as gospel, but it’s hard to ignore the success that Garoppolo has witnessed as the starter in San Fran. Garoppolo is 35-15 since being traded to the Bay Area in 2017 and helped lead the organization to Super Bowl LIII.

If not for a dropped interception by Jaquiski Tartt late in the NFC Championship Game in January, Jimmy G would have made it 2-for-2 on getting San Fran to the Super Bowl as the teams’ full-time starter. Perhaps, Garoppolo would have earned his third Super Bowl ring rather than Matthew Stafford gaining his first.

The way the NFC looks outside of Philadelphia, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Niners make another run at a Super Bowl berth in 2022. The offense is a tad less dynamic with Garoppolo in place of Lance, but it’s infinitely more efficient.

In three starts since assuming the role of QB1, Jimmy G’s completion percentage is lower than expected but his steady presence behind center, and willingness to lean on the run game, have resulted in two dominant wins over the past couple of weeks.

The Los Angeles Rams are suffering from a major Super Bowl hangover, one the likes of which I haven’t seen since the morning after my 21st birthday. Kyler Murray will always make the Cardinals a tough out and Geno Smith is cookin’ as the starter for the Seahawks, but neither should be viewed as realistic contenders.

This leaves a wide-open path at the feet of Kyle Shanahan and his veteran quarterback. After an offseason that seemed destined to end in an applicable divorce between Jimmy G and the San Francisco 49ers, it’s clear that the two had unfinished business left to tend to.

The schedule is not favorable for the next month and a half, but it eases up toward the end of 2022. Jimmy Garoppolo needs to continue what he’s always done and guide the ship through murky waters. It’s not always going to be sexy, but it doesn’t matter if the day ends with a win.

Nobody wishes for injuries, and I hope that Trey Lance recovers and serves as the starter in the Bay Area for the next decade in a half. That being said, the Niners did not lose their Super Bowl aspirations. In fact, I’d argue they are closer now than they were at the beginning of the season.